Tag Archives: Dead of Winter

One of Our Own Journeys North

We’re very proud to share that our great friend Robert J. Duperre, who also occasionally writes for Shock Totem, has just signed a three-book deal 47North, Amazon’s publishing imprint. The deal is for three books, all to be co-written with fantasy author David Dalglish.

The first book, Dawn of Swords, will be released in January 2014, with Wrath of Lions and Blood of Gods to follow.

Yes, these are fantasy novels, but we read widely here at Shock Totem HQ and are very much looking forward to these books. And you should as well.

If you want to sample some of Duperre’s writing and would rather something a bit closer to horror, check out his four-book Rift series—The Fall, Dead of Winter, Death Springs Eternal, and The Summer Sun. If you don’t want individual books, buy the entire series as a very affordable digital omnibus.

You can also check out The Gate 2: 13 Tales of Isolation and Despair, which not only features three stories by Duperre, but also a story by Mercedes M. Yardley and yours truly.

You can read more about this deal on Duperre’s blog, The Journal of Always.

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I’m not a dog person. I don’t exactly dislike dogs, they are sometimes cute or endearing, but mostly I just tolerate them. They are dirty, slobbering, noisy, needy creatures who add little to my life. I just don’t get the attraction of dog ownership.

Robert J. Duperre is a dog person. It’s obvious from the outset that Silas, Duperre’s third novel, is a story about a man and his dog told from the perspective of someone who genuinely loves dogs. On this level, Silas succeeds magnificently.

But Silas is much more than that. It is also the story of a man who has lost control of his life, and is desperately careening down a path he did not map out in advance. Ken Lowrey is frustrated in his stalled career as a writer and soon finds himself in the emasculating position of managing his wife’s successful business as her employee. Even the most ardent egalitarian would find this a tough pill to swallow.

Ken lashes out, often irrationally, against his wife, other employees, and even his own image before finding himself on the brink of a total meltdown. He is quite literally at the end of himself when his wife, seeking a surrogate for the children Ken does not want, brings home a black lab. Silas.

Despite his initial misgivings about the dog, Ken quietly develops a bond with Silas that goes beyond simple companionship. The relationship progresses from owner and dog to master and companion to father and son, and all of it is set against a background of missing children, alternate realities and a difficult journey of self discovery. What starts out as a mundane recount of an unexceptional life turns into a thrilling adventure that is as classic as any in literature.

Ken and Silas set out to solve the mystery of disappearing neighborhood children, and get caught up in a fantasy epic that involves a race against time and multiple dangers, climaxing in a chase scene that was a terrific page-turning thriller.

Was this book without flaws? No. The narrative was sometimes choppy and episodic, mostly early on while we are finding out what sort of a man Ken Lowrey is. Some passages are stilted, although overall the writing is very competent. But in the final analysis of any tale, a great story can overcome quite a bit of mechanical flaws. Duperre has written a very fine story here that features several unique takes on old tropes and an energy that is undeniable. He had this non-dog person in tears by the end. Generating that kind of emotion with your prose is what every author should aspire to. Robert J. Duperre has accomplished it.

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